The UN defines youth as persons between the age of 15 and 2. While the legal rights and responsibilities of those under 18 differ globally, it is important to recognize that youth have an evolving capacity for decision-making.

Press Release: 150+ international parliamentarians in Ottawa to advance sexual and reproductive rights at IPCI Conference

Ottawa – Parliamentarians and development experts from around the world are meeting in Ottawa from October 22-23 for the International Parliamentarians Conference of the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI).

The IPCI Conference, which was first hosted in Canada sixteen years ago, will bring together more than 150 parliamentarians who champion sexual and reproductive health and rights, including the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of International Development.

As secretariat to the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is the Canadian non-profit co-hosting this conference alongside the Government of Canada, the Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, the United Nations Population Fund, and the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development.

At a time of global backlash against women’s reproductive choices, the rights of LGBTQI people, and young people’s access to sex-ed, the IPCI conference provides an international space where parliamentarians can strategize ways to advance progressive laws and policies, eliminate discriminatory laws and policies, and advocate for increased funding toward sexual and reproductive health and rights issues – domestically and globally.

“More and more, we’re seeing Canada demonstrate increased support for global and domestic sexual and reproductive health and rights,” says Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. Adding that, “parliamentarians in Canada and internationally have a role to play in ensuring sustained political leadership on the most stigmatized and neglected health and rights issues, namely, safe abortion care, comprehensive and inclusive sex-ed, and young people’s sexual health.”

Canadian parliamentarians have been instrumental in safeguarding access to abortion, adding gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination, and advocating for human rights-based approaches in the development of new laws and policies domestically and internationally through Canada’s development assistance.

By the end of the two-day conference, participants will generate a forward-looking, action-oriented declaration that builds upon previous IPCI commitments and provides clear direction to further realize sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world.

Action Canada is among the Canadian civil society organizations who are looking to Canada and all parliamentarians attending the conference to hold firm on their commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights and to mobilize towards greater support for these issues as a community of champions.

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Media Contact
Ani Colekessian
[email protected]
613.241.4474 ext. 7


  • Sandeep Prasad is available for interview before, during and after the conference.
  • Parliamentarians from Canada and other countries will be available for interviews throughout the IPCI Conference. See attachment for complete list.
  • Press passes are available for reporters on the day-of and obtained at the registration desk.
  • Visit for a full list of speakers and additional conference information.
  • A reception will take place on October 22, 2018 from 5:30-8:30 at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building, hosted by the Canadian Association of Midwives, the UNFPA, and the CAPPD for attending parliamentarians, in collaboration with the Speaker of the Senate of Canada, the Hon. George Furey and the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, the Hon. Geoff Regan. Midwives from several countries will be on hand to demonstrate midwifery procedures and answer questions about their work. Reporters who wish to attend must RSVP by email to [email protected]
  • Parliamentarians from the following states will attend: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Montserrat, Niger, Niger, Palestine, Peru, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Sudan, St. Kitts and Nevis, Surinam, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom.


Why Politicians are Trying to Rob a Generation of their Right to Sex-Ed

Sex-ed, when done well, saves lives, so what young people stand to lose in this fight is clear: health, safety and wellbeing.

Op-Ed by Action Canada
Originally published in the Huffington Post

Sex-ed has become a hot political topic across the country.

At the same time as tens of thousands of Ontario school students staged walkouts to protest the return of an outrageously outdated health curriculum, social conservatives in British Columbia are banding together to run municipal election platforms against LGBTQ curriculum content.

For many parents, voters and politicians, sex-ed is understood as part of the health and wellbeing of young people. At the same time, we’re seeing a rise in the exploitation of people’s fears with misinformation to win political points.

What young people stand to lose in this fight is clear: health, safety and wellbeing. Sex-ed, when done well, saves lives. Comprehensive and inclusive sex-ed leads to declining STI and unintended pregnancy rates, the prevention of gender-based violence, and increased school safety for LGBTQ students. When sex-ed uses an explicit human rights-based approach, it even increases open dialogue with parents about sex and relationships.

Those very facts should be enough to end the debate. Yet despite the research and overwhelming parental support for sex-ed in schools, a small but vocal minority who want it abolished are being rewarded by a disproportionate amount of media attention and political success.

The backlash to a resource that was developed in collaboration with the B.C. Ministry of Education to create safer learning environments for LGBTQ students is disturbingly similar to what transpired in Ontario.

Rallies are being held in front of the provincial legislature, rampant misinformation about the content of the toolkit and lesson plans is spreading, and political platforms are being built to roll-back the resource in schools where it’s currently being used and to ban it from schools where it isn’t.

The lobbying success of these groups in B.C., like Ontario, is a symptom of the growing political influence of a once-fringe brand of social conservatism. Conservatives are being told that their worldview is under attack and that the classroom is an appropriate venue to wage war against the human rights of women, girls and LGBTQ youth.

A genuine fight for human rights and freedoms is never won at the expense of others.

The morality showdown is cleverly cloaked in language appropriated from a human rights lexicon. Parental rights are pitted against the health and rights of young people, as if it’s a zero-sum game. Freedom of parental expression is invoked to curtail freedom of gender expression. Freedom of religion is used to undermine support for sexual minorities and the notion that a robust health education will benefit all of our children.

Misinformation about what is being taught is being used to gain political support under the guise of protecting children.

In the end it comes down to this: human rights are interconnected and equal, they extend only insofar as they don’t harm another person. A genuine fight for human rights and freedoms is never won at the expense of others.

Freedom of expression, for example, cannot override people’s right to health, to education and to live free from violence and discrimination; it cannot override the right to sex-ed, which is enshrined in international human rights laws and protected by global experts such as the World Health Organization.

In Ontario, bolstered by the many complaints made by young people and parents, the Ontario Human Rights Commission filed a notice of intervention last week with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to protect the rights of girls and LGBTQ students who will suffer the most from sub-par sex-ed.

In B.C., resistance to backlash has taken the form of a youth-led campaign called “Sex ed is Our Right.”

Every one of us is entitled to receive relevant, accurate education and health information throughout our lives, and no government has the authority to deny it to an entire generation.

Resistance matters and your voice counts. If you believe in every person’s right to live a safe, healthy life that is free from violence, make yourself heard. Young people need you.

October Update: Abortion, sex-ed, human rights

Information and updates on sexual and reproductive health and rights this month:

Annual Report 2016-2017

Whether it’s been campaigning for universal cost coverage of medical abortion, launching a cutting-edge resource for teaching sexuality education in schools, securing a major investment in global SRHR from the government Canada, offering thousands of people the health information they are looking for, or supporting sexual and reproductive rights defenders around the world to hold their governments accountable, we’ve been working tirelessly to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and globally.

Read our Annual Report to learn about the significant strides we made in 2016-2017 »

Having trouble reading the report? Click here to download in PDF

Our Associate Planned Parenthood Toronto is Hiring!

Want to be part of something bigger than yourself? Join our movement to unapologetically revolutionize the sexual health dialogue.

Volunteer Engagement Worker, Young Men’s Peer Project | Apply by February 5, 2018

February 2018-June 2020. 22 hours/week. Young Men’s Peer Project.


Finance and Operations Assistant | Apply by February 7, 2018

Permanent. 30 hours/week. Finance and Operations Office.

UN report highlights link between reproductive health, global inequality

Click here to watch interview with UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem on CTV News

Source: CTV News

Investing in sexual and reproductive health services is key to global development and prosperity.

That is the message the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund is bringing to Canada as she meets with International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau on Wednesday.

Dr. Natalia Kanem and Bibeau will discuss the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNPF) latest major report, titled Worlds Apart, which looks at inequality and the state of reproductive rights around the globe.

The report, released in October, warns that failing to protect the rights of the poorest women around the world “could undermine peace and world’s development goals.”

Millions of women lack the ability to access sexual health services and make their own decisions about how many children they will have and when they will have them. That prevents girls and women from getting a proper education and seeking jobs outside the home, which contributes to financial inequality in many countries, the report says.

“Even in countries that are better off, there is inequality,” Dr. Kanem told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday.  “The gap between the rich and the poor is growing.”

Dr. Kanem said the Worlds Apart report is “pathbreaking” because it shows a direct link between women’s reproductive health and global development. She commended Canada for contributing to global humanitarian efforts that focus on the empowerment of girls and women, and said countries like Canada need to continue to invest in reproductive health rights, and especially in the education of young girls.

“Information can be life-saving for a young girl. Many girls get pregnant without having a clue.”

The UNPF report makes a number of recommendations “for a more equal world.” They include abolishing discriminatory laws that prevent girls and women from accessing sexual health services, bolstering childcare options so that women can enter the workforce, and eliminating girls’ obstacles to getting a secondary and higher education.

Globally, women earn 77 per cent of what men earn, while in Canada, women earn 87 per cent of what men earn, according to the report.

“Inequality remains a barrier to women and girls accessing comprehensive sexuality education, reproductive health services, and family planning and contraceptives” Bibeau said in a news release ahead of Wednesday’s meeting.

“Partners like the UNFPA continue to play a vital role in removing barriers and addressing the gap while providing critical sexual and reproductive health services.”

Striving towards equal rights for all. Not just some.

Action Canada’s Meghan Doherty lends her voice to CBC Canada 2017 to talk about sexual and reproductive rights and striving towards equal rights for all. Not just some.

Our Associate Planned Parenthood Toronto is Looking for a SNAP Volunteer!

Supporting Newcomer Access Project (SNAP) is a peer sexual health education and leadership project for newcomer youth in Toronto. We train newcomer youth in the city to become sexual health educators who then make and lead workshops all around the city. SNAP Peer Educators will engage youth from diverse newcomer communities in Toronto to address the lack of relevant, accessible sexual health education for newcomer youth through the development and delivery of peer-led sexual health education workshops, activities and new media/communication technology resources. SNAP Peer Educators will form a Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), and with support and guidance from PPT Staff, the YAC will work together to develop sexual health education workshops for newcomer youth that they will deliver in the community. Subjects could include healthy relationships, safer sex, consent, cultural balance, dealing with family/community/religion, or other topics identified by the YAC. All Peer Educators accepted into the program will participate in comprehensive training to increase knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and get skills necessary to create and deliver sexual health programming to other newcomer youth.

Eligibility: This volunteer opportunity is open to youth of all genders and backgrounds who are between the ages of 18 and 29.

Training: Training will start in November, taking place over multiple weeks for a total of 30 hours. Training will run one evening a week and 2 Saturdays, depending on the needs of the group. Applicants must be available to attend all sessions. Training is designed to increase your knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and to develop the necessary skills to provide information and deliver sexual health workshops to newcomer youth communities and to be a resource for their peers.

Training Dates/Times:

  • Monday, November 6, 6-8:30PM
  • Monday, November 13, 6-8:30PM
  • Monday, November 20, 6-8:30PM
  • Monday, November 27, 6-8:30PM
  • Monday, December 4, 6-8:30PM
  • Monday, December11, 6-8:30PM
  • Monday, December 18, 6-8:30PM
  • PLUS 2 Saturdays in either November or December, 10AM to 4PM (dates to be determined)



Commitment: Once training is completed, volunteers will meet twice a month, to continue creating new resources, workshops, building on skills, or other activities the group decides to undertake. Additional trainings and meetings may be added as needed. Commitment to this project is one year.

DUE DATE: Monday, October 16th at 9AM.

Fill out our online application here [link]

Or download and return PDF applications to:

Rhobyn James

Community Health Promoter/SNAP Coordinator

[email protected]

Mail/In Person:
Planned Parenthood Toronto
36B Prince Arthur Avenue
Toronto ON M5R 1A9

For more information contact: Rhobyn James, [email protected], 647.461.4454

Get Your Copy of Beyond the Basics Today!

Beyond the Basics is a resource for educators that offers the tools to teach young people about sexuality and sexual health from a sex positive, human rights perspective. Covering topics that range from anatomy to consent and healthy relationships, Beyond the Basics approaches sexuality education across all gender identities and sexual orientations with activities that help move students from receiving information to making decisions based on critical thinking skills and empowerment. Recognizing the time pressures educators face, Beyond the Basics is written to easily move in and out of chapters, modules, and activities that suit the particular age, maturity, and trust in each classroom.

Click here to purchase today!